365 Days of Praise - Beyond Ourselves

Soak Your Soul In This

09/15/2021
The news often reminds us of how dark our world is. But, be encouraged. God is the opposite.  Psalm 76:4 says “God is RESPLENDENT,” which means luminous. Where can we bask in His Light? The Bible. We can read the Psalms. We can look up at the glory of the heavens. We can meditate on God’s A-Z Attributes. Rather than drown in the hopelessness and discouragement of the world, spend time soaking in God’s Light. Bathe your soul in Him.
Lord, You are RESPLENDENT! Illumine my life with Your glory. 

Claim Your Place as A Child of the Kingdom of Light

09/14/2021

Have you ever been in a “dark place”? Perhaps you are now. Everywhere you look it’s dark and what’s worse – you don’t see a way out.  If you have been there or you are now, can you imagine what it would be like to be in darkness forever and to know that you’d never ever escape? God and Satan are powerful. They each have domains/kingdoms.  Satan’s domain is a place of evil and darkness. (Colossians 1:13)  First John 5:19 tells us the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.  That is, you lie in the power of the evil one unless you have responded to God’s invitation to rescue you from the domain of darkness and transfer you to the kingdom of His beloved Son. (Colossians 1:13)  If you’re a Christian and in a dark place today because of circumstances beyond your control or even because of sin, run to your Savior.  Stand against the darkness by singing songs of praise to Jesus. Lift your hands and voice in praise to God for His A-Z character traits we daily study. Claim your place as a child of the kingdom of light. If you have not yet responded to God’s invitation to rescue you, why not? Please consider His invitation.  If you have friends or family who don’t know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, you can prayerfully share this with them.

Lord Jesus, You are our RESCUER! We love You! We thank You! We praise You for rescuing us and transferring us to Your kingdom. 

“He RESCUED US from the DOMAIN of DARKNESS, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” Colossians 1:13

When Storms Overwhelm

09/13/2021

Are the storms in your life overwhelming you…perhaps literally? Whether the storms are literal or metaphorical, fear can flood our emotions. Lightning bolts of regret can strike us to the core. Worry can flood our minds.  But God doesn’t want us to stay overwhelmed, drowning in fear, worry, and regret. That’s why He has given us His Spirit, His very presence to be with us. Just as shelters offer a place for flood victims, God calls us to come to Him for REFUGE. The Hebrew word “REFUGE” means shelter from danger or falsehood.  The more closely we stay under God’s arms of truth, the more protected we are from the enemies’ lies. Psalm 46:1 reminds us that God is our REFUGE, a very present help in trouble. Go to Him. Shelter under the truth of His love for you.

Lord, You are a REFUGE who shelters us from Satan’s lies, worldly deceptions, and life’s storms. Remind us to not stand in the rain of discouragement, but rather shelter under You.

When You’re Drained

09/12/2021

Do you feel drained or spiritually empty? You know you’re saved, but you’re tired and discouraged.  What do we do when we want to serve the Lord and energetically live for Him but we’re weary and feel like there’s nothing left for us to give? God answers our question.  In Jeremiah 31:25,  He says,

I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes. 

The LORD is our refresher! Jesus echoes this in Matthew 5:3-6. Are we poor in spirit? Are we mourning? Are we hungry and thirsty for righteousness? If so, we can go to the ever-flowing river of Life in the LORD. We can drink deeply of His Word and Spirit. We can be refreshed and our energy renewed to do what He places in our hands. What a joy. What a God!

Heavenly Father, our daily lives often leave us feeling drained. Fill us with Your presence. Renew and refresh us so we are energized to serve You and others. 

9/11

09/11/2021

I spoke in New York shortly after September 11, 2001. Shortly after Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked three planes and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C., killing everyone on board the planes and nearly 3,000 people on the ground. Shortly after a fourth plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field, killing all on board after passengers and crew heroically attempted to take control from the hijackers. Evil reigned in the hands of the terrorists that day but evil didn’t ultimately win then and evil will never ultimately win. Christ Jesus is victor over evil! He overcame evil and sin and the sting of sin – death. All who place their faith in Christ will live eternally in His glorious presence. Today and continually we remember with gratefulness our loved ones, friends, and the many we will never know until heaven – those who sacrificed their lives for our nation. Today we also remember with utmost gratefulness the Lord Jesus who sacrificed His life for our souls. We must never forget either.

Lord Jesus, thank You for making PURIFICATION OF OUR SINS. We love and praise You for the ultimate sacrifice of Your life to make us pure as You are pure. 

“When He had made PURIFICATION of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”  Hebrews 1:3

In Case You’re Not Perfect

09/10/2021

Is there anything about you that isn’t perfect? If you are perfect, congratulations.  I’m not. As a matter of fact, the closer I grow to Christ, the more aware I am of sin in my life. If you, like me, are mindful of your sin, here are some encouraging words. Malachi 3:3 says the Lord

will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.

What good news! As Christ’s priests (1 Peter 2:9), we have confidence in our REFINER who is extracting sin from our life and clarifying us so we can stand before Him one day, perfect; so we can present to Him offerings in righteousness.

Thank You, Lord, for being our Refiner. We look forward to heaven when we stand sinless before You and present to You offerings in righteousness.

Get on the Right Side of God

09/09/2021

Have you noticed that people in our nation are at odds with one another? “What an understatement!” you may say. And, you’re right.  Rioting in the name of peaceful protests. Name-calling and accusations.  One faction looking at the other as an enemy.  In light of that, did you know Romans 5:10 says we were once enemies of God? Gulp. Not a good position!  How did we get on the right side of God so we’re not His enemy? “We were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” It took Jesus’s death to reconcile us to God. The verse continues, “we shall be saved by His life.” No one wants to be on the wrong side of an issue. No one wants to be on the wrong side of God. We have Jesus to thank for reconciling us to our glorious Heavenly Father.

Jesus, thank You for giving Your life so that we could be RECONCILED to God! We rejoice and praise You!

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:10

If You’re A Captive, Do This

09/07/2021

Did you see the movie, Ransom? Mel Gibson played the father of the son who was kidnapped. There was no way the kidnapped son could free himself. The kidnappers demanded the father pay a certain price, a ransom, to get his son back. That’s what our Heavenly Father did for us. We were captives in sin so our Heavenly Father gave Jesus as the RANSOM to pay for our freedom. Was it only our Father’s idea? No. First Timothy 2:6 says that Jesus was in one accord with the Father. “…Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a RANSOM for all.” Yes, our sweet Lord gave Himself as a ransom so we could be reunited with Him and our Heavenly Father forever. How do we become free from sin? We say “yes” to the offer of Jesus being our ransom so we are released from being a captive to sin and Satan.

Lord Jesus, we praise You, our RANSOM, our LORD. 

What’s Coming Up Behind You

09/06/2021

Have you ever been driving and keeping your eyes on the road before you when suddenly a car came up too fast behind you? If so, do you remember the startling feeling? Do you remember hoping the driver would slow down rather than rear-end you? Often, we speak of the Lord leading us, but Isaiah 52:12 also speaks of the Lord as watching out for our back.

... the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your REAR GUARD.

In this verse God is referred to as a rearguard when the Israelites escaped Egyptian bondage. God is also our rear guard. He watches over us, leads us, and not until heaven will we know how many times He’s protected us from encroaching evil and danger. Just as it was important for Moses and the Israelites to pay attention to and follow God’s instructions, it’s important for us to pay attention and follow His instructions. How do His warnings and instructions come to us? In the Bible and the Holy Spirit’s promptings. How well are we paying attention with a grateful heart?

Lord, thank You for being our REAR GUARD and for all the ways You watch over us and protect us. Help us be ever sensitive to Your promptings. We love You so much. 

Soul Rest

09/05/2021

“I’m tired! I’m tired of work. I’m tired of the tension in the world. I’m tired of struggling with…. I’m tired of taking care of….” How would you finish those sentences? God understands. Our body, mind, and soul need rest. The Bible says God rested on the seventh day. (Genesis 2:2) One of His Ten Commandments is, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8) Today, some ignore God’s command to have a holy day of rest each week. Their reasoning? Believers aren’t bound by Old Testament laws. I agree that we are not legalistically bound to keep the Jewish Sabbath. I agree that Jesus’s work to obtain our salvation on the cross means that we don’t work for our salvation. I agree that God has provided a future eternal sabbath rest. (Hebrews 4:9-10.) However, is there value in setting aside a day of holy rest and gathering with others to worship?  (Hebrews 10:25) Apparently God places value on both. (Exodus 16:22-30, John 20:19, Isiah 58:13-14) What that looks like will be different for us. But no doubt, holy rest and worship are important.  What does your day of soul rest and worship look like?

“If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot
From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable,
And honor it, desisting from your own ways,
From seeking your own pleasure
And speaking your own word,
 Then you will take delight in the Lord,
And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find REST for YOUR SOULS.  Matthew 11:29

Lord, thank You for the eternal Sabbath Rest we have in You. Thank You for the rest for our souls You alone give.